Sunday Book Review – Scam! – Stevie Turner

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. This week’s featured book is for Stevie Turner’s novella – Scam! A story that will keep you engaged until the end. This story showcases just how easily people are sucked into scams.

Blurb:

Lauren West and Ben Hughes are saving frantically for their forthcoming marriage and mortgage deposit. When Lauren sees an advert online from a firm of brokers extolling the profits to be gained by buying and selling Bitcoins, she is interested enough to pursue it further.

Lauren clicks on the advert. She is soon contacted by Paul Cash, a knowledgeable stockbroker whom Lauren trusts straight away. He is affable, plausible, and seemingly genuinely interested in her welfare. Lauren looks forward to making enough money to be able to surprise Ben and bring the date of their wedding forward, and also to put a deposit down on their ideal house.

What could possibly go wrong?

My Five Star Review:

I enjoy Turner’s women’s fiction stories and Scam!, held me captive to the very end. This story demonstrates just how vulnerable people are to the savvy tech scammers.

Lauren and Ben, both teachers, are saving to buy their own home, in the meantime, they are living with Ben’s parents. Lauren is eager to get her own home as she feels stifled and judged all the time by Ben’s mother. Lauren thinks she’s struck gold when she finds an online opportunity to invest in Bitcoin. The problem is, her and Ben have worked hard to save the $20 K so far for a deposit on a new home, and this opportunity looked tempting to double her money quickly. Lauren is sure everything looks legit and decides to take the plunge without telling Ben because she wants to surprise him when she makes the money – a sure thing says Paul ‘Cash’, her online stockbroker.

What could go wrong is a loaded question. This may be a novella, but as usual, this author knows how to pack in a lot of suspense in her short stories. I do not want to give out spoilers here, so I will just say that a simple scam turns into way more than just the scam itself, escalating into burglary and even murder. That should be enough to tempt. At approximately 100 pages this story reads fast because there’s always something happening, making it hard to put down and not difficult to read in one sitting.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – My Sweet Friend – A Novella by H.A. Leuschel

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. If you enjoy a bit of a mixed genre – #Chicklit with lessons and a splash of a narcissistic protagonist, you will enjoy this novella length romp with “best friends?” Alexa and Rosie in this fun read – My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel.

 

 

 

Blurb

‘Thrilling and clever, relatable yet extraordinary’ – Whispering Stories

‘I highly recommend this intriguing page-turner to anyone who’s ever crossed paths with a true narcissist… and is still standing!’ – Felicia Denise, author and blogger

‘Cleverly plotted and perfectly paced, the characters were all flawed in their own dark ways… an addictive read’ – Dash Fan Book Blog

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

 

My 5 Star Review

Psychological Manipulator Meets Sweet and Compassionate.

We begin the story with a telephone conversation between Alexa and Rosie. We get that Rosie seems a bit ticked that Alexa needed a week off from her fairly new job at the PR firm where she ‘works’ together with Rosie. Air quotes around the word ‘works’ because that is debatable as this fun chicklit-ish romp with life lessons continues in this story, spiked with a twist of narcissism.

It’s not hard to figure out that Alexa is a narcissist who fits people into her life who can benefit her and those she can control by lying, cajoling, preying on, and projecting. Some may question her narcissism, but as a great detector of this species – she is. She’s got all the symptoms, denials, and bag of tricks.

Alexa is a manipulative girl who slithers into the lives of ‘sweet’, compassionate and good-natured Rosie and fellow  colleague and hot guy, Jack. When Alexa noticed Jack’s affection for Rosie, Alexa swoops right in with her wiley ways to seduce him just to prove to herself she can, without a thought for her friend. Alexa is a needy lover of herself and will go to any lengths to get what she wants. She uses Rosie’s compassion to cry to her, complain and lie about stories to gain sympathy. And poor Rosie is naive to Alexa’s cons – until she no longer is.

This read kept me engaged until the very end as I had my suspicions as I analyzed along with Alexa’s characteristics and shenanigans. I enjoyed reading on to see if my suspicions were accurate while focusing on Alexa’s actions with her distractions and faked distress and her odd ‘woe is me’, strange behaviors for someone so well put together and with such ‘projected’ confidence.

Thankfully, Rosie gets some well-needed advice from her therapist who helps Rosie to sort out her confusion about her friendship with Alexa, and Jack and some office pals begin to put some stories together that don’t add up about Alexa. And once Jack and Rosie corroborated their stories to one another, the gig was up.

This story kept me engaged as the author managed to keep this short novella a page-turner, keeping us wondering if Alexa gets called out all the while we’re shaking our heads at Alexa’s gumption. By the last page we’ll be left to decide if Alexa has learned anything from her experience, or will her personality keep her living life as she always has – dropping drama in her tracks? There are some good life lessons in this book, which suggests to me that anyone can enjoy this book.

 

bitmo live laugh love

 

©DGKaye 2020